As a component of the University of Texas System, UTEP’s mission is to provide higher education to the residents of El Paso, Texas and the surrounding region, including Chihuahua, Mexico. The Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts (Rubin Center) furthers the intentions of its parent institution and strengthens its commitment to understanding the international and multicultural character of the region. The Rubin Center builds upon programming established by UTEP’s Main and Glass Galleries, which existed from 1980-2004. We are currently housed in a 1928 structure that underwent a 2.2 million dollar renovation in 2003-4. Commanding views of both Mexico and the U.S., the galleries increase the appreciation and awareness of visual culture through visual art exhibitions and related programming.
With a joint population of 1.8 million, the El Paso, Texas/Juarez, Mexico area is one of the largest bi-national urban environments in the world. The student body at UTEP numbers around 22,000, 78% of whom are Mexican-American and 15% of whom are Mexican nationals, demographics similar to those of El Paso. UTEP seeks to extend educational access to a geographically isolated region with limited economic and educational opportunities by bringing art and ideas from other places to the borderland. Since inhabiting the renovated building in 2004, the Rubin Center has organized more than seventy-five exhibitions of contemporary art, several of which have traveled throughout Texas and around the country. With each exhibition we host a roster of visiting artists and/or curators, offering our geographically isolated community a direct experience with contemporary artists and curators of international recognition and importance. Visiting artists create site-specific installations, give public lectures, and conduct workshops for area high school and university students. We have hosted artists from throughout the United States and Latin America, in addition to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The Rubin Center’s exhibitions and programming have been recognized and supported through generous grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Lannan Foundation, The Leonard Nimoy Foundation, and others.